Engineering Honors Program Embarks on Fourth Year

What Mairead Argus appreciates most about the Cal State Long Beach Engineering Honors Program is being in smaller-sized classes with like-minded people. “There’s a sense of community. You’re not just your student ID number,” she says.

Elena Desanto, a former valedictorian at Port of Los Angeles High School, enjoys the time for in-depth discussions with faculty. “If you have questions, you can ask them and faculty genuinely want to help you.”

Argus and Desanto, both chemical engineering majors, were among several dozen honor students who turned out for the Engineering Honors Program (EHP) luncheon on Friday, Sept. 4. Started three years ago, the program now serves nearly 100 students.

“Any dream you have, you can achieve here at Cal State Long Beach with the experience and support of the staff and faculty,” said College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani in welcoming the new and returning EHP students.

Added Interim Associate Dean Tracy Maples: “Faculty love working with good students. They’re interested in your success and in working with you.”

Designed to offer academically successful and motivated students a chance to complete their studies in four years, the program requires a research report culminating in a thesis. It provides students a fast-track plan toward undergraduate degree completion, a structured experience that fosters advanced research skills, and cultivates academic independence needed at the graduate-school . The EHP also prepares students for working in the profession after college.

Because it’s an accelerated program, students can earn by attending honors-sponsored events. When they graduate, they receive an honors certificate, transcript notations, and special recognition during commencement activities.

And there’s plenty of support to ensure they succeed, in the form of honors events throughout the year, a designated EHP study area in the lobby of EN2-302D, peer mentoring office hours presented by Matthew Choi, and informal meet-and-greets between honor students and faculty.

Heidi Girling, a health educator with Student Health Services, urged students to take advantage of available workshops, such as an upcoming one on stress management. “I know your program is going to be challenging. It’s not only going to help you through college, but also through life,” she said.

Although both Argus and Desanto enjoy challenging themselves academically, they also understand the importance of managing stress by engaging in outside activities. Desanto, who’d like to work in the pharmaceutical industry, finds an artistic outlet in photography, while Argus, who wants to work in the space industry, participates in competitive Irish dance.

To be considered for the EHP, freshmen must have a weighted GPA ≥ 3.50 and high math scores on the SAT or ACT, and AP Calculus or IB Math. Incoming transfer or continuing students must have a declared engineering major and an overall GPA ≥ 3.50.

–Margo McCall